What happens if you don’t treat a herniated disc?

It usually isn’t wise to delay getting treatment for a medical condition, but many people do because they’re busy with work, or because they’re worried they might need surgery. Know that no doctor would ever force you to have a medical treatment you don’t want—it’s ultimately your decision to treat a herniated disc or not. But if you don’t get the care you need, your condition may worsen. Come to Southern Hills Hospital to talk with the caring specialists in our Spine Program. We’ll explain your treatment options and address your concerns to help you find the best possible solution for your needs.

Delaying treatment for a minor disc herniation
A disc herniation affects the cushion-like structures between the bones of your spine. Some of the softer material on the inside migrates through the wall to the outside. This doesn’t always cause symptoms.

If you have a herniated disc without symptoms, which is referred to as asymptomatic, then you might not need treatment right away. However, there’s always a possibility that your condition will worsen. Consider seeking nonsurgical treatment to heal the disc to prevent this possibility.

Getting nonsurgical treatment for disc herniation
You might be delaying medical care because you don’t want to learn that you need surgery. If so, you need to watch this featured video. It’s an interview with a doctor at Southern Hills Hospital. He explains that about 90 percent of patients with disc herniation don’t actually need surgery—they’re able to heal with conservative treatments.

These nonsurgical treatments may include:

  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care

Understanding the risks of severe disc herniation
It is possible, though uncommon, for disc herniation to cause a severe complication called cauda equina syndrome . This occurs when the nerve roots at the bottom of the spine are compressed.

Cauda equina syndrome does require emergency medical intervention. Otherwise, there is a risk of the following:

  • Permanent paralysis
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Loss of sexual sensation

Some patients are not able to recover full function, even with immediate treatment.

Southern Hills Hospital is proud to offer high-quality spine care by leading specialists in their field. When you become a patient at our hospital in Las Vegas, you’ll receive uncompromising medical care, courteous attention and concierge-level services. Call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

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